Women empowerment in India
The world consists of 50% of women and there we talk about women empowerment. With half of the population being in control, women are definitely not in minority then why is the empowerment needed only for women?
Why empowerment is needed only for women why not men?
Women not only in India but throughout the globe have been suppressed since ages. With time the conditions of women has changed but this fact is only partially true for country like India. In India women are still considered below men despite challenging them in almost every field, women are still taken down. Practices like honor killing, dowry, genital mutilation, rape, domestic violence and child marriages are still symbol of the ill condition of women in the nation.
If we go back to Indian history, at the Vedic period women were given full priority and were considered next to men. They have liberty of choosing their own partners and has a right of education as well. The degree of freedom given to women to take part in public activities indicates the nature of the status enjoyed by women. Women never observed “pardah” at that time. At the epic time also women were given prestigious position then whether it be Ramayana or Mahabharata, women were the heroes. These periods glorified women status. It was this time of Dharmashatras and Purans that changed women condition a great deal. They were deprived of formal education and regarded as second class citizens. Sons were given more weightage than daughters. Girls were prevented from learning the Vedas and becoming Brahma charinis. Then comes the Buddhist period, the condition improved a little but as a whole remained same. Only some caste based atrocities were relaxed apart from it Buddha did some work on increasing women status but that doesn’t resulted that great.
In medieval period women condition worsened and was considered most disappointing for them. No freedom was provided to them and were restricted from even learning a single alphabet, widow remarriage and levirate’s were not allowed. They were nothing more than but just slaves. Child marriage and ‘Sati Pratha’ was also originated within this period only.
Few Indians such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy influenced by the modern concept of freedom, equality and justice started to question the discriminatory practices against women. Through his unrelenting efforts, the British were forced to abolish the ill-practice of Sati. Similarly other social reformers such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, Acharya Vinoba Bhave etc. worked for the upliftment of women in India. The Widow Remarriage Act of 1856 was the result of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s movement for improving the conditions of widows. We can’t possibly state that women condition haven’t improved since then but a major part of the nation still bears the burden. Women today are more oriented, they have right to educate themselves, right to work and even in the constitution enjoys several laws but still the impact isn’t that complete. Some of the rights given to them are:
1- Article 14 ensures to women the right to equality.
2- Article 15(1) specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
3- Article 15(3) empowers the State to take affirmative actions in favor of women.
4- Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office.
But who cares about such laws? People still continue to treat them abusively whether it be physical or mental. We have seen men abusing their daughters or wives publicly on streets and the cases of domestic violence are enough to provide the indoor horror stories. Girls or women still are guarded by their father in childhood, then by their husbands and later by their sons. They are married just to be transferred from one jail to another. Okay, this is not the condition of the complete India but yea a major part of it of course.
But apart from these divergence women in India has increased their social condition to a step ahead. They have grown to encounter difficulties with more power than before, even in corporate world women are giving tough competition to the men and are performing well on international levels as well. Like Debjani Ghosh- the First Nasscom woman President in 30 years, Jamida Beevi- First Indian Muslim woman to lead Friday prayers, Mithali Raj- First Indian cricketer to score 2,000 runs in T20I, PV Sindhu– First Indian to win a gold at world tour finals and Harmanpreet Kaur- First Indian cricketer to score a century in world T20 international match. There are many other, these are just a few of them. These women are a true inspiration and are inspiring not just me and you but all the women throughout the country. The post-independence time proved to be a turning point in women condition and much has changed since then, let’s just hope that the future holds much more pride than it has now.
The true India requires great leaders of both genders, we require a balance economy which is equal for men and women so that our kids can only hear stories of this evil.